SEO or search engine optimization is a forever changing science that requires an in-depth knowledge to execute it correctly. There is no secret recipe or strategy one can implement, what works for one firm will not necessarily work for another as many factors come into play. There is also no shortcuts for SEO success, so before we can discuss the top 3 steps a law firm takes for an SEO strategy, we need to first identify what exactly SEO is.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is an online marketing strategy used to produce more organic traffic to a site on search engines such as Google or Bing. When using this method, law firms do not directly pay the engine in order to show up in the results like when one pays them for PPC or pay per click. SEO will affect 2 different sections of the search results or SERP, these are the organic listing and the map results. Using a search engine such as Google is the most common way people find a law firm and learn about them aside from referrals by someone they know.
SEO can be broken into two main disciplines which are what the industry calls on-site and off-site. On-site SEO refers to the content that is on the law firms’ site and how it is optimized. The content should be written to help answer questions one might be searching for and rank for a given keyword the firm is targeting. In doing this it will potentially create leads for that firm. User experience is important because it will not help if someone comes to your site but does not have a good user experience. Making sure your site is optimized technically comes into play as well, there are a number of various settings and adjustments used to make sure your site is being found by the search engines. Lastly, Authoritativeness is important to ensure your site comes off us an expert on the subject one is searching for.
Off-site SEO refers to the things done off of the law firms’ website, such as backlinks, which are when websites link back to yours in their content. Reviews, the greater reviews a firm has the better chances it will rank higher. And citation consistency, the firm’s number, name and address should be the same across the web to show consistency. So now that we know a little more about SEO we can discuss the top three steps in a law firm SEO strategy.
#1 – On-Site Content and Keyword Research
We can start with discussing keyword research and it’s relevance with an SEO strategy. Researching keywords will help determine what people are searching but also which keywords need their own page on the site or need to be added to a blog and how the various keywords need to be grouped together. These keywords will also play a big part in convincing the given search engine that you are an expert in that particular practice area and in turn will lead to converting leads. There are atwo different types of keywords, these are explicit keywords and implicit keywords. Essentially explicit keywords will include the location of where one is searching, i.e. Indianapolis Family Lawyer. Implicit will not include the location, i.e Family lawyer. Many times, searchers will not use the explicit keywords unless they are searching for something in a different location then where they currently are. A law firms site should target explicit keywords because the search engines should know where to rank the firm geographically speaking.
#2 – On-site Technical SEO
Technical SEO on your site is essential to ensuring the site works properly as the search engines like them to. You can imagine Technical SEO as a sort of setting, and if you do not have the correct ones in place, the site will not work correctly or function on the search engines as you wanted it to. URL structure is a big component of this as it will help boost the ranking of your site if optimized properly. And Site architecture plays a huge role in technical SEO. There are many items that go into site architecture, so we will list just a few to give you an idea:
- Page title
- H1 Title
- Header title tags
- Alt tags
- Meta descriptions
- Above the fold
- Inner linking
These are just a few of the many things that must be optimized on-site to help boost a firms rankings.
#3 – Off-Site SEO
As mentioned earlier, off-site SEO refers to things done to help your site rank not directly on the firm’s site itself. One of the main off-site SEO strategies is what the industry calls backlinks. Backlinks are when another third-party site links back to the law firm’s site within their content. You can think about it like a contest to see who is most popular, the more people sites that link back to yours will tell the search engine that your site is popular amongst the community for a given practice area.
As you can see there is a lot that goes into making a website optimized to the best of it’s potential. It would be wise to reach out to an online law marketing company so they can help you and your firm be seen on the search engine results page.